Banks in­quiry turns ex­plo­sive


THE first day of a pow­er­ful ju­di­cial in­quiry into Aus­tralia’s scan­dal-rid­den bank­ing sec­tor yes­ter­day heard Na­tional Aus­tralia Bank is­sued al­most $19 bil­lion (R224bn) in home loans un­der a scheme in­volv­ing fal­si­fied doc­u­ments. It was the first bomb­shell of what prom­ises to be an ex­plo­sive year-long in­quiry into the fi­nan­cial sec­tor and es­pe­cially the “Big Four” banks, which dom­i­nate the coun­try’s $1.36 tril­lion mort­gage mar­ket. Rowena Orr, a bar­ris­ter as­sist­ing the Royal Com­mis­sion in­quiry in Mel­bourne, said NAB had de­rived more than $18.9bn in home loans from the scheme be­tween 2013 and 2016, when the mis­con­duct took place. “The in­tro­ducer pro­gramme was ex­tremely prof­itable for NAB dur­ing the pe­riod where mis­con­duct oc­curred,” Orr said, adding that it had in­volved about 60 bankers and branch man­agers and un­suit­able loans to more than 2 300 cus­tomers. – Reuters US

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